Okay, so with the same frivolity usually reserved for yesterday's dirty laundry, I'm going to toss around not one but TWO terms society all too often neglects to recognize: BIPHOBIA and BISEXUALITY.
But first, in a day and age where definitions and terms change with the frequency of an anxious heartbeat, let's make sure we're safely on the same page:
Bisexual: a person who is both physically and romantically attracted to both men and women.
Biphobia (as articulately described by Urban Dictionary): unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward bisexuals and bisexuality.
It’s as simple a concept as any, and while a great portion of the population on the planet identifies as bisexual, they seem to be largely left out of the LGBTQ+ conversation (doesn't the "B" in the LGBTQ+ stand for "bisexual?" Isn't this their movement as much as anyone else's?).
And while there might be that one bisexual female character (males are hardly represented) that holds a guest-starring role in a handful of episodes on an edgy cable TV show, she's always portrayed the same way: the wild-eyed, hyper-promiscuous, loose cannon bisexual woman who guiltlessly sleeps with the engaged male lead only to turn around and seduce his conservative, Christian wife-to-be who inevitably ends up questioning her sexuality for the next two episodes until she falls back into the arms of her remorseful fiancé, and they vow to never let anything comes between them again and are stronger because of it.
While this image of the eccentric bisexual woman might be mildly entertaining for a 30-minute television episode, it doesn't exactly represent most bisexuals (especially men).
While it's become increasingly trendy to identify as sexually fluid, and eons more socially acceptable to identify as gay or lesbian -- it seems as if bisexuals have been widely ignored.
While a large portion of our culture seems to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that boys will like boys and girls will like girls, bisexuals are all too often left out of the conversation.
You're probably wondering if I'm a bisexual. I'm not. While in a perfect world, labels would only exist on clothes, for all intents and purposes I choose to identify as a lesbian. I crush on girls, date girls, sleep with girls and (occasionally) fall in love with girls.
So why am I so invested in this pressing issue of biphobia? As a person whose life has led me to be deeply immersed in both the LGBTQ+ world and the heterosexual world, I have borne witness to a tidal wave of biphobia washing over both communities.
As an outwardly feminine-looking creature who prefers velvet red lipstick to flannel, every time I find myself at the local lesbian bar, it's only a matter of time before the girl I'm flirting with poses the inevitable question:
"Are you a gay, or are you bi."
As if to say: "Oh, honey, if you are, that's cute. Call me when you make up your mind."
And it pisses me the f*ck off. So what if I was bisexual? Would that make the hot waves of sexual tension palpably vibrating between us any less real?
Sadly, the apple does not fall far from the straight tree, either.
Any time a bisexual female friend of mine dares to open up to heterosexual men about her sexual orientation -- she's in for a surefire request for a threesome. Her bisexuality instantly sexualizes her, and she’s assumed a kinky voyeur of the bedroom.
Bisexual men are the most negatively affected by the endless biphobia of our society. Ever since “Sex And The City” proclaimed bisexuality was nothing more than a "layover on the way to gay town,” a male who is attracted to both men and women is instantly written off as a closeted homosexual, using bisexuality as a crutch until he comes to terms with who he really is (because we clearly know more about him than he does).
Doesn't our sexuality exist in the root of who we are? Is it really up to anyone to answer to anyone's sexuality, except his or her very own?
And more importantly, why the f*ck do we care who sleeps with who? Aren't we in this fight for love and equality together?
Why are heterosexuals and homosexuals alike so threatened by a bisexual?
Is it because people are afraid they will get rejected for the opposite sex?
I constantly listen to lesbians endlessly discuss the time in which they had their heart crushed by a bisexual girl who had the nerve to leave them for a boy.
It cuts deep to be rejected by anyone we so love, regardless of who they leave us for. Heartbreak has no gender.
And just because we’ve had one negative experience with a bisexual doesn’t mean we need to judge every bisexual as a fickle creature who will neglect us for the opposite sex.
I've felt the painful sting of being cheated on by my girlfriend, but I'm not going to deem every lesbian a liar who can't keep it in her pants.
Is it because people assume they're simply trying to be "trendy" and "rebellious?"
In the last decade, there has been a newfound trendiness in identifying as anything outside of the classic hetero norm.
Bisexuals beat to their very own sexual drum -- and a lot of people chalk that up to them attempting to be fashion-forward and stylishly rebellious.
But is that really, truly fair? How would you like your straight/gay sexual orientation to be written off as nothing more than your attempt to fit in a perfectly packaged box?
Also, aren't there a million other more creative ways to wear the freaky flag of rebellion outside of sexual orientation? Don't ripped fishnets and black lipstick and tattoos do the trick? Aren't style and sexuality two different things?
If someone is to take a risk and open up to the masses about his or her sexual orientation, don’t we owe it to that person to take him or her seriously?
Is it just a phase?
I know lots of people whom bisexuality served as the well-padded buffer zone between gay and straight. For some, it's easier to find self-acceptance in bisexuality than homosexuality.
That doesn’t excuse us labeling all bisexuals as simply going through a phase. Some people are indeed happy and capable of attaining real feelings for both genders and will for the entirety of their lives.
Some bisexuals end up leaning more one way than other, but does that even matter? Isn’t sexuality fluid?
If feelings between two people feel real, they ARE real. Why would you let the fear of that person going through a phase talk you out a potentially beautiful relationship?
Is it because people assume they’re greedy/easy?
How many times have you heard: “Why are bisexuals so greedy? Why can’t they make up their damn mind and choose a gender already?”
Why are you so narrow-minded to think that just because a person is attracted to both genders, that they’re an insatiable force of nature?
Bisexuals can be as picky (or un-picky) as any homosexual or heterosexual. Just because it's not gender standing in their way doesn't mean they're free of standards and ready for every warm body that enters their world.